Political Culture Political Tolerance & Mistrust of the Government

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Political Culture Political Tolerance & Mistrust of the Government Slide 2 Value Changes during the 1930s Although the Preamble to the Constitution states that promotion of the General Welfare is a major purpose of government, the meaning of that value was transformed during the 1930s Slide 3 Value Changes during the 1930s Great Depression brought about the near-collapse of capitalism FDRs New Deal affirmed governments responsibility for the welfare of its people Slide 4 Value Changes during the 1930s In FDRs 1944 inaugural address, he outlined a Second Bill of Rights Reflected FDRs firm commitment to economic security and independence Slide 5 FDRs Second Bill of Rights Asserted everyone has a right to: Useful job Food Clothing Decent home Adequate medical care Good education Slide 6 FDRs Second Bill of Rights FDRs Second Bill of Rights These beliefs played a major role in the creation of the civil rights & welfare legislation of the 1960s & as recently as the early 1990s Slide 7 FDRs Second Bill of Rights Clinton referred to FDRs Second Bill of Rights when he said: Health care is a basic right all should have Slide 8 Value Changes The defeat of Clintons health care plan indicates that Americans dont always agree on the meaning of this value Slide 9 Value Changes The governments responsibility for the general welfare became a major issue of the 2000 election campaign Slide 10 2000 Presidential Election Candidates George W. Bush & Al Gore debated the merits of a government-sponsored prescription plan for the elderly Slide 11 POLITICAL TOLERANCE American value Easily misunderstood Slide 12 POLITICAL TOLERANCE Democracy depends on citizens being reasonably tolerant of the opinions & actions of others Slide 13 POLITICAL TOLERANCE Most Americans believe themselves to be fairly tolerant Studies shows that political tolerance is much more complex a value than it appears on the surface Slide 14 POLITICAL TOLERANCE Key findings: (1) Overwhelming majority of Americans agree with freedom of speech, religion, & the right to petitionat least in the abstract Slide 15 POLITICAL TOLERANCE (2) People are not as politically tolerant as they proclaim themselves to be (3) Americans are willing to allow many people with whom they disagree to do a great deal politically Slide 16 POLITICAL TOLERANCE (4) Americans have become more tolerant over the last few decades (5) Most people dislike one or another group strongly enough to deny it certain political rights although people are not always inclined to act on their beliefs Slide 17 POLITICAL TOLERANCE As a general rule, people are willing to deny rights to people on the opposite end of the political spectrum Slide 18 POLITICAL TOLERANCE Liberals are most likely to deny rights to right-wing groups (neo- Nazis) Conservatives are most likely to deny rights to groups they may disapprove of (gays, atheists) Slide 19 POLITICAL TOLERANCE Americans remain more tolerant of unpopular ideas, individuals, and groups in the abstract than in reality Slide 20 POLITICAL TOLERANCE Personal liberties & constitutional freedoms endure: Americans often do not act on their beliefs Slide 21 POLITICAL TOLERANCE Cannot agree on which group, individual, or idea should be suppressed Permit the courts to enforce constitutional protections Slide 22 Mistrust of the Government Values of the political culture are not immune to change Trust that Americans have in their government has varied considerably Slide 23 Mistrust of the Government Although the trust reflected in the 1950s & early 1960s may have been artificially high, trust in government & its officials has declined significantly since the mid 1960s Slide 24 Mistrust of the Government Many scholars blame the Vietnam War & Watergate for the initial, dramatic drops Trend is persistent into the early 21 st century (Americans in record number express their disgust with politics & politicians) Slide 25 Political Efficacy Accompanying the mistrust of government has been a drop in external political efficacy Belief of an individual that government will respond to his/her personal needs or beliefs Slide 26 Mistrust of the Government Americans are now much more likely to say that public officials care little about what the people think or want Slide 27 Mistrust of the Government Americans seem to have come to the conclusion that government is too big & pervasive to be sensitive to individual citizens Slide 28 Mistrust of the Government Howeverinternational studies show that: Americans feel significantly higher levels of political efficacy than do citizens of many European countries Slide 29 Political Efficacy Americans are less likely to vote than most Europeans Americans are more likely to engage in other forms of political participation: (1) Sign petitions (2) Work to solve community problems (3) Regularly discuss politics